A $400 million mixed-use project that will accelerate the transformation of an industrial corner of South Boston’s Andrew Square with nearly 1 million square feet of housing and retail space is moving to the next development stage.
Developer David Pogorelc says the majority of nearly 100,000 square feet of retail space will be built in the first phase of the Washington Village project, containing eight low-rise buildings and towers. The retail space and other streetscape improvements are designed to create a “sense of place” in a corner of South Boston that’s underserved by shops and restaurants, Pogorelc said. He’s targeting health clubs, restaurants with outdoor seating and possibly a supermarket.
Following engineering work, construction of the first phase could begin by late 2018, Pogorelc said, in the form of wood-framed, low-rise buildings surrounding a new 1.5-acre central green.
“There’s a lot more engineering involved than just putting up buildings,” he noted. “We’re designing a park and widening the sidewalks and putting in streets as well.”
Building retail at the outset to establish a destination in a mixed-use development has been successful at large multi-phased projects such as South End’s Ink Block and Somerville’s Assembly Row. At Cambridge Crossing, developer DivcoWest has acknowledged the importance of nearby shops to prospective office tenants, including 28,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space in the current phase now under construction.
Washington Village has approvals for 400 condominiums and 265 apartments in buildings ranging from three to 21 stories, but the breakdown and phasing of the residential buildings is still to be determined. The low-rise buildings will be constructed first, Pogorelc said, as part of a two- or three-phase construction schedule. The first buildings probably will be rentals, he said, although that could change depending upon fluctuations in the housing market.
Pogorelc began assembling the site in 2010 and eventually acquired nearly five acres of industrial buildings and parking lots near the corner of Dorchester Avenue and Old Colony Avenue.
Demolition of approximately 180,000 square feet of buildings occupied by a printing company, transmission shop and laundry service culminated in December as crews removed the 120-foot-tall smokestack at Crown Uniform and Linen Service company, which has relocated to Brockton.